Allan Holdsworth, Marbin - Martyrs', Chicago, IL 4/1/12
This tour combines two great talents from two different eras. Allan Holdsworth is of course a legendary guitar player, incredibly influential among musicians, known for his fusion style. Marbin is probably the best up and coming band, and they are still in the process of developing their style. Needless to say, both acts made up for one incredible evening.
Marbin took the stage, and right away the band began to electrify the audience with their brand of music. Some time ago, Marbin expanded their live line up by a rhythm section consisting of Ian Stewart of bass, and Justyn Lawrence on drums. The rhythm section certainly added a lot of excitement, and not to mention a solid punch to the music. From the first song onward, the band seemed very loose, relaxed, willing to jam and improvise. They appeared to be having fun on stage, and took many chances with the songs. Marbin has come a long way since this writer saw them perform in their living room only two years ago. Their music is growing and evolving. It's difficult to pin them down to one style, this band is a musical chameleon with an incredible atmospheric feel.
Marbin added a lot of humor to their performance, fun stories in between the songs, but they meant business. It was difficult not to be impressed by Dani Rabin's soul-piercing guitar solos, and Danny Markovitch's breathtaking saxophone melodies. The instrumental connection between the two main players is passionate, and the current rhythm section only elevates it to a new high. A fantastic set from Marbin. No doubt, the band won many new fans that night!
Allan Holdsworth was the main attraction of the evening, and a sold out crowd gathered to see their hero perform. Holdsworth was accompanied by Virgil Donati on drums, and Jimmy Haslip on bass. It was an absolute dream come true for fans of guitar, drums or bass. Each performer in this trio excelled in their respective craft. And yes, there were plenty of musicians in the audiences eyeing how the big guys do it.
Allan Holdsworth delivered the good at such ease, it was embarrassing to watch him. He is a naturally gifted player who pushes the boundaries at all times. The trio was very powerful, and at times it was difficult to concentrate on a single player. Holdsworth's guitar certainly dominated the set, but the background provided by Donati and Haslip was crucial to the level of the intensity.
Holdsworth's performance was smooth. His musical vocabulary is quite extensive, and everyone at Martyrs' got a taste of it. It was mind-blowing to see the way Holdsworth was channeling his music, and his rhythm section sharing that vision with him. A definite touch of experience and magic.